Printed on: December 27, 2012

Pierzynski to start for Rangers


ASSOCIATED PRESS

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A.J. Pierzynski can joke with Texas manager Ron Washington about last season's All-Star snub now that he's the starting catcher for the Rangers.

They shared a laugh over lunch a few days before Wednesday's announcement that Pierzynski's one-year free agent contract with Texas was complete. Both considered the All-Star issue dead after it happened in July, even though Pierzynski had a cryptic retort when Washington explained the difficulty of the decision.

Washington said Pier-zynski will be the primary catcher, pushing Geovany Soto to the backup role after he re-signed as a free agent.

Pierzynski hit .278 with a career-high 27 home runs in 135 games for the Chicago White Sox, while Soto took a pay cut after hitting .196 in 47 games following a trade with the Chicago Cubs.

The Rangers needed a left-handed power hitter after losing All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton in free agency to the Los Angeles.

They also had a void at catcher because Mike Napoli, a key to Texas reaching a second straight World Series in 2011, bolted for Boston.

"Physically, I feel awesome," said Pierzynski, who matched his career high with 77 RBIs last season.

Around the Majors

Red Sox get All-Star closer Hanrahan from Pirates: If Joel Hanrahan can do for the Boston Red Sox what he did against them, they should be very happy with their new closer.

In the first of his two All-Star seasons, the right-hander posted back-to-back saves for the Pittsburgh Pirates with perfect ninth innings against the Red Sox in June 2011. He struck out Adrian Gonzalez, who entered the series batting .359, to end the second game.

Mariners officially announce Raul Ibanez deal: The Seattle Mariners officially announced their $2.75 million, one-year deal with outfielder Raul Ibanez on Wednesday, returning the veteran to where he began his major league career in 1996.

The deal allows Ibanez to earn an additional $1.25 million in performance bonuses. This will be his third stint with the Mariners, after rejoining them from 2004-08.

Ex-MLB player Ryan Freel found dead in Fla. home: Ryan Freel, a former Major League Baseball player known for his fearless play but whose career was cut short after eight seasons by a series of head and other injuries, was found dead Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Freel, who was 36, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound, sheriff's office spokesman Shannon Hartley wrote in an email Sunday. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.

Ex-Braves player Jones accused of dragging wife: The wife of former Atlanta Braves star Andruw Jones accused him of dragging her down a staircase, grabbing her neck and saying he wanted to kill her, according to police records.

A police report obtained by The Associated Press said the fight happened around 1:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, after Nicole Jones asked her husband to help her prepare their suburban Atlanta home for Christmas morning.

Andruw Jones was free on bond after his arrest on a battery charge, according to Gwinnett County Jail records.